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Course of the Year 2014: WOC Middle!

WOC Middle 2014 Men
– Remember to let the runners have fun, is one of the key messages from the course setter of the “Course of the Year 2014″ to all aspiring course setters out there. And the winner course from the World Championships Middle distance in Asiago, Italy was definitely a course which was fun to run for the athletes- while still challenging the runners on many different levels.

What a luxury to get the best course of the year in one of the most important races of the year! Congratulations to Italy, WOC 2014 and the course setter Cristian Bellotto. Read on below for a long interview with Bellotto about the planning of the course and other related items.

This is what Lauri Sild said about the course when he put it forward as his candidate:

– It is difficult to put it into words, but orienteering in the terrain was sheer joy! I mean, already the map itself looks awesome!

Clear winner

WOC 2014 Middle was a clear winner in “Course of the Year 2014″ – with the sprint course from PWT Race the Castle in second place (“Sprint Course of the Year 2014″) – quite fittingly organized not very far from the area where the World Championships will be organized next year. The (cancelled) World Cup long distance in Spain won “The Long distance Course of the Year 2014″. See the Top 10 results in “Course of the Year 2014″ below the interview.

Without the sponsors the “Course of the Year 2014″ would not be possible at this level, so please take a second look at the sponsor presentations at the bottom of this article and consider visiting these races and training camps next year! The sponsor prize winners will be published in a separate article later this week.


Interview with course setter Cristian Bellotto

Below follows an interview with the course setter Cristian Bellotto. See also these articles about the race earlier published at WorldofO.com:

Q: What is your favourite leg in the course – and why?

I think that control number 5 took the runners to a completely different type of terrain, and with that a change in the navigation that could be really challenging.


The control before (number 4) was a downhill one (with difficult runnability…), so it didn’t give a lot of time to plan the next one. Controls number 16  and 17 were downhill in a phase of the race when the runners were very tired – there were controls with a precise idea which we discussed a lot with Sundby.


Q: Did you get any surprises with respect to which routechoices were fastest or were the athletes made mistakes?

I knew that the green part can make runners do mistakes, but I didn’t think that it would be that many. About the routes, the times were more or less as expected. The last route (control 15) was decisive: I hoped people would risk something in the end, and straight was in fact about 25 seconds better in my calculations [Editors comment: Selected routes from the leg shown below – taken from the comprehensive WorldofO.com analysis article].


Q: Did requirements from TV give you any special restrictions which made it more tricky to make a good course? Can you maybe share some early variants of the course?

With Janos, Jørn and Karel Jonak [Editors comment: TV director] we discussed a lot about how to make the courses TV-friendly. In particular control number 3 was planned to have good visibility to be able to see the runners coming to the control.


Control 10-11 was the downhill leg, with mobile camera. In this area there had to be enough light in the forest. We had some constraints with arena passages too, due to the fact that we had the relay in the same arena.

Q: Did you have any special worries about the courses in the morning of “the big day”?

It is a World Championship – the dream of your work as a course planner

We checked each control a lot of times, and the day of the race everything was surveyed, but … it is a World Championship – the dream of your work as a course planner! So I was nervous until the runners started to arrive, and François’s [Gonon] comments made me understand that everything was good.

Q: The terrain used is very detailed – did you/the mappers have to do a lot of work with respect to generalization?

The initial work of the map makers was good, but we later worked more on the map, cleaning it to give the best readability.

Q: What did you feel when you understood that Thierry Gueorgiou had missed a control and was disqualified?

It was a big surprise! I have known him for 10 years – he has given me a lot of feedback on course planning and coaching through the years, and I really hoped he could perform well that day. The days after the race I tried to understand if there was something wrong in the graphical aspect (cutting lines, numbers and  so on), but as Thierry said, he was just one step ahead…


Q: Were you a course setter team doing the course setting for WOC Middle? If you were a team – how did you share the work?

I was designated course setter by the Technical Director for WOC, Janos Manarin, for the WOC Middle in early 2012, and the controller was Aaron Gaio (nominated later). In the beginning I shared part of the work with the relay course setter Andrea Rinaldi, because the races had to share the same area. Andrea had to leave the course setting team one year before the event due to work (and I then took over the relay as well…). Some advice came from  Janos Manarin, and obviously [the IFO Senior Event Advicer] Jørn Sundby has been active in reviewing the courses as well.

Q: When did you start planning the courses for WOC Middle – and how many hours do you think you spent on it? Can you take us through part of the planning process?

I think there have been 5-6 very different versions, the first one on the old map.

My club (Erebus Vicenza) is the owner of the previuos map in Campomulo (dated 1995), and so I started 2 years before the event with the old map. The challenge was to surprise the runners, who already had the old map published. I think there have been 5-6 very different versions, the first one on the old map.

[Editors comment: Below you see the evolution from the first two versions on the old map (the narrow map) to the final version – the animation cycles through 8 different versions].


I don’t know exactly how many hours I worked on it, for sure the last months were very intense, with a lot of work in the terrain (4 times a week for several months and then work at home). Also I had to test that the controls were fair when approaching from different directions. In this part my wife Paola has been important for her patience! ;) The weather didn’t help us, with a lot of snow in Campomulo until May!

Q: What is the best course you have planned?

Difficult question…I am satisfied with the WOC middle, but looking at the past I remember with a smile the first national championships I planned in 2005 (in Platabek, always Asiago highland), with my team mate and friend Antonio Franco.
We were very satisfied with that course, and the title was won by Manuel “El Tosela” Negrello.

And … remember to make the runners happy!

Q: Where should World of O’s readers travel to experience your courses in 2015?

For the final Italian Cup stage, my club Erebus will return to Campomulo in October. Maybe I will use some earlier version of the courses I planned for WOC? And closer in time, I have planned a lot of trainings for the Sun-O training camp, in the end of February. Pedro and his staff will wellcome you in Punta Umbria!

Q: What is your work flow as a course setter? How do you start? Have you got a good tip for setting a good course?

Generally I start with some long running on the terrain, for seeing the best parts, and understand if the mapping is good in all the areas – and consistent if there are more map makers. Then I look at a good start regarding short and easy courses (kids are as important as Elite!) and I start to develop the flow, keeping in mind good legs that I think should be introduced in the courses. As a tip – I think it is important to respect the format you are planning, and to give a meaning to all the legs. And … remember to make the runners happy!

Q: What was the best course you run in 2014 – and why?

I really enjoyed an Italian Cup middle distance in Castelrotto: The forest was incredible, and is was a big pleasure to run there!


Q: What is your biggest success as a runner?

I have run a lot of years as Elite in Italy, but I have never been at the top level. Some top 5 races as junior, when Tavernaro was already the best in Italy. I am doing a better as coach, I think, working with several juniors in my club and helping other good elite runners. This year I am starting to work with the junior national team, a big challenge for me and all the staff!

Q: Which course did you vote for in “Course of the Year 2014″?

My choice was the Norwegian Championships Ultralong, a very nice course, from my point of view. The strange choice from me may be EOC long, but…they’ve done a good course after that nightmare – it was not easy to stay calm!

Results: Course of the Year 2014

Orienteering has three “official” individual disciplines – Middle, Sprint and Long – and it is nice to see that the three top places in “Course of the Year 2014″ are in different disciplines. Thus the PWT Race the Castles is “The Sprint Course of the Year 2014″ and the World Cup long distance in Spain is “The Long distance Course of the Year 2014″.

All the Top 3 courses were highly praised in the interviews with top runners made in conjunction with “The Course of the Year 2014″.  Annika Billstam had many good things to tell about her choice – the WOC Middle distance – having “every ingredient necessary to win this award”. Ida Bobach and Lauri Sild also picked the WOC Middle course as their favourite. Ida’s brother Søren Bobach on the other hand picked PWT Race the Castles while Baptiste Rollier picked the World Cup long distance in Spain.

1. WOC Middle 2014 Men
19340 points
2. PWT Race The Castles
17000 points
3. World Cup Spain Long Men 2014
13740 points
4. Mediterranean Championships Long 2014 Men
13350 points
5. Portugal O-Meeting Day 3 2014
12850 points
6. JWOC Middle 2014
12640 points
7. OOCup Day 4 2014
10700 points
8. Norwegian Champs Ultralong 2014
9580 points
9. Swiss O-Week 2014, E5
9090 points
10. Race the Castles Prologue, part 1
7580 points
11. Mediterranean Championships Middle 2014 Men
6830 points
12. Alpe Adria Cup Middle 2014
6590 points
13. World Cup Long Kongsberg 2014
5940 points
14. World Cup Sprint Imatra 2014, Men
4990 points
15. NAOM Sprint 2014, Men
4930 points
16. WOC Sprint 2014, Final Men
4780 points
17. Silva League 1-2014 Finspång
4710 points
18. World Cup Middle Kongsberg 2014
4360 points
19. Portuguese Champs Long 2014, D21E
4280 points
20. WOC Long 2014, Women
3960 points

See also:

Prizes from our Sponsors

Prizes from our Sponsors always makes it more fun! There will be a prize for the first one suggesting the course which ends up becoming “The course of the Year 2014″, and prizes drawn among the ones suggesting and voting. All prizes are transferable to other persons (you don’t have to travel yourself).

Event sponsor: Andalucia O-Meeting 2015. 27th-28th February & 1st March 2015
  • Prize offered: AOM Competition Package for 4 persons – including entry to 4 events in 3 days, 4 nights accommodation in apartment and a 4-map training package before or after the event. Value about 600 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • Sweet terrains and maps, nearby accommodations and high level competitions (2 WREs) in a very mild climate! More info at aom2015.com

Event sponsor: Liburnija Orienteering Meeting 2015. 14th-15th March 2015
  • Prize offered: Big club package with entry for Liburnija Orienteering Meeting 2015 for 10 persons! Value about 200 Euro. Transferable to other person(s).
  • The second edition of Liburnija Orienteering Meeting will be organized on the snow-free terrains of the island of Krk from 14th-15th of March 2015. Our vision is that this event becomes one of highlights of winter orienteering events in Europe for elite runners so therefore expect demanding courses and extreme terrain. Read more here

Event sponsor: Bergen Sprint Camp – January 30th – February 1st 2015
  • Prize offered: 2 packages – each consisting of 2 complete Bergen Sprint Camp packages: Entry for all 4 races + training Friday morning + Saturday evening program consisting of presentations and dinner. Value about 375 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • For the 6th time in a row, BSC is held in the city center of Bergen, Norway. We provide all participants with challenging courses, good maps and interesting analysis of the sessions – hoping to improve the sprint orienteering technique for everyone. See more at Sprint-Camp.blogspot.no – including all courses and analysis from previous editions of BSC.

Event sponsor: Orievents / NAOM 2015. 31st January – 1st February 2015
  • Prize offered: Competition + training package for 2 persons, consisting of: Entry for NAOM 2015 (January 31st – Middle + WRE Sprint (Marvão), February 1st – Middle distance) + training camp (6 trainings) + 3 days of accommodation in half board. Value about 270 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • Orievents Training Camps “Alto Alentejo” are an excellent training opportunity for Orienteering of good quality during the winter. Start the new season in training camps in Alto Alentejo, Portugal! More at www.naom.pt and about the training camp at Orievents.

Event sponsor: Portugal O-Meeting 2015. 13th – 17th February 2015
  • Prize offered: 2 packages – each one for 2 persons – consisting of: Entry fees for the 4 stages of POM 2015, model events, night sprint and sprint relay. Value about 200 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • Portugal O’ Meeting is already a well-known established international event, normally reaching the highest average points in World Ranking Events, excluding the World Championships and World Cup events. More at pom.pt.

Event sponsor: Lipica Open 2015. 7th – 11th March 2015
  • Prize offered: 3 packages – each for 2 people – consisting of: Entry to complete 5 day Lipica Open competition + Slovenia training package consisting of up to 3 trainings. Value about 300 euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • In 2015 Lipica open will again be organized as a 5 day event. Again we will add some new terrain and combine diverse areas. Training conditions in this part of Europe are now better than ever – both on forest maps and on sprint maps of nice little towns on the Adriatic coast! More at www.lipicaopen.com – for trainings see www.orienteering.si

Event sponsor: Kopaonik Open 2015
  • Prize offered: 2 competition packages, each consisting of 2 entries to Kopaonik open 2015 (5 competition stages + 1 training)and the Cup of Raska 2015 entry fee (1 competition stage).  Value about 200 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • We are offering to you 6 days of orienteering challenges for you, combination of two classical long, two middle and one sprint distance challenges plus one night orienteering challenge with separate ranking, 1 training plus 6 competition stages in total. For more info see  www.kopaonikopen.org

About Jan Kocbach

Jan Kocbach is the founder of WorldofO.com - taking care of everything from site development to writing articles, photography and analysis.

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  1. Next year you could preferably make a thinning in number of courses before the voting as there are so many suggestions, I wasn’t able to look through and analyse 74 maps as much as I wanted in six days.

    • Thanks for the input, Simon. I’ve got the opposite opinion from several people who want to see all the interesting courses. I guess one options would be to have two rounds of voting – but then again people would not be interested in using that much time on it, probably?

  2. TOP20 has 5 Portuguese races (25%) and TOP5 has 2 (40%).
    Quite an amazing result for us. :D

    Do not miss POM2015: http://www.pom.pt